Here a cake, There a cake

We celebrated my daughter’s third first year birthday party yesterday – Phew! I have to practice saying this. Just to keep the record straight, I decided to blog it that she is really only a year old! As long as she doesn’t think every year ushers in 3 parties, I am fine!

Since I am known for my silly songs, I cannot pass up this opportunity of another one …
Lil girl Keerts had a club
Eeeaa EeEaa Ooo
A Princess Cake here, and a Mickey cake there
Here a cake, there a cake,
Everywhere a birthday cake!

My sister and family decided to wish her everytime she cut a cake or celebrated her birthday – a decision taken in haste, I can tell you! The strain was beginning to show. Calendars were drawn up, and reminders posted to track the various events around the globe! Feverish phone-calls ascertaining the day was indeed her party day! The anticipation of photographs taken in some fancy outfit! Oh – the mind swaggles (if ever a word like that existed!) See…..this is where I wish I were an artist – I could draw a pencil sketch of the brain, and several exclamation marks around the head, a pair of zombie-like eyes and a dotted line to show the tottered motion of a tired brain tracking birthdays – but, you get my drift, and I shall not babble further.

Anyway, the birthday parties served as a reminder that she is growing up amidst loving family and friends.

On behalf of my little girl, I thank “The Keerthana Fan Club” members for making her parties a huge success! Thank you Thaathas, paachees, athais, athimberes, pemma, peppa, maamas, aunts, uncles, akkas, annas and paapas too!

Columbus Jr

If Christopher Columbus were to announce his co-discoverer today, my father would probably stand a fair chance of making the list. Let me explain.

My father loves travelling, and usually our home is cluttered with travel magazines with fantastic photographs. It was his first trip to the USA last year. We had been to Lake Tahoe and Reno during the Winter season, and were thrilled with the amazing sights that the lake and mountains had to offer in the snow season. After a lazy night gambling at the casinos, and a hot supper, we hit the comfortable beds laid out for us in the suite.

The next morning we found ourselves opening the curtains to find the whole world bathed in fresh, white snow. There had been an unexpected storm, and mounds of snow had been dumped over the countryside overnight! The beauty is unimaginable especially for my parents – we hail from the Southern State of Tamil Nadu, India, and snow is never seen in those regions even at an altitude of 8500 ft. The fresh snow managed to rekindle the children in them, and they were filled with glee!

After the initial euphoria died down, my husband and I set about managing the immediate concern at hand viz. getting back to the Bay Area. We had travelled there by road, and by the looks of it, all roads leading in and out of the Lake Tahoe were blocked. Luckily, we had driven out there in a rental car. Soon, we were busy making calls to the rental car company arranging to return our car at Reno, booking our flight tickets out of Reno (before the rest of the people thought of the option, and flights got full), arranging a drop to the airport early the next morning etc. We had even arranged to extend our stay in our current suite by a day. Thank God for cell-phones!

Throughout this flurry of activity, my father sat with a pensive look on his face, evidently in deep thought, staring out at the snow. After the last of our calls had been made, my father’s voice crackled to life!
“Ahem Saumya”, he said. I’ve heard that tone of voice before, and it generally means his gray cells have been at work, and had something to proclaim.

I listened as he unfolded what he thought we could do in this situation. He said – “We have come here in our rental car, isn’t it?” I nodded, not sure where this was leading. He quipped – “In that case, why don’t we request the rental company to see if they will take the car back here, and see if any flight tickets are available?”

You see why I call him Columbus Jr??? After all the arrangements had been made, he comes and proposes the exact same thing! I must grant it to him though – in an entirely new country, new lifestyle and the works, he had assessed the situation, and come up with a novel idea. If only, he had paid attention to what was going on in the room ! Dear, dear parents – the very virtue that makes them so lovable!

As I pen this blog, I can already envision my daughter’s blog in a few years from now proclaiming me to be Madam Curie Jr – such is the Circle of Life!

Best Seller in Bratsdom

Putting my one year old daughter to sleep is a challenge posed to all, regardless of age, patience levels and relationship to her. Various methods are tested, tried, refined, and the process is ever-evolving. You see the little brat learns to resist and overcome every method too!

One of my recent methods has been to unleash stories on her. Though I am heavily criticized for the story-line from time to time, I have to fight for my rights here. Most of my stories contain an intricate mix of emotions. Consider the Chikudoo, Chikkidee story for example. The story has drama, suspense, thrill, anger and remorse!

** For those who scoff at my bedtime stories, and cannot identify the underlying emotion, I am highlighting the feeling **
Chikudoo and Chikkidi were two little birds who were best friends, and they were talking to each other: “Kuvvi kuvvi” they coo-ed. *Harmoniously*

While they were cooing to each other, a cat with malicious intentions stalked them. This villainous cat shall henceforth be referred to as “Miaow”, since in bratsdom that is the noise that cats make. How did the cat stalk the birdies? Ta dam ta dam ta dam ta dam ta dam ta taaa da dum – dish! *With dramatic sound effects*

Chikudoo saw the cat coming, and screamed to Chikkidee : “Fly away Chikkidee – Miaow is coming” *Thrill and action*
Chikudoo flew away, but the Miaow caught Chikidee *Suspense – what happens next? Will Miaow free Chikadee?*
Chikudoo saw that Miaow caught Chikadee, and angrily shrieked – “Miaow, I am velly angee with you, why did you catch Chikadee?” *Anger*
To which miaow retorted – “Go away Chikadoo, I am going to eat Chikadee” * What an unco-operative cat?*
Now Chikadee told miaow that she too is angry with Miaow for catching her.

Every cat can handle one tiny bird’s anger, but two birdie’s anger is too much even for Miaow. So, he starts crying, and says “Unh unh unh – please don’t be angry with me – I’ll let Chikadee go!” *Remorse*

And so, Chikadee and Chikudoo fly away happily, leaving a sad Miaow * The happy end*

There are more stories – like Mickey plays hide and seek story, Minnie Mouse learning to put “Kolam” in Trichy, and many, many more! Those willing to risk a narration of these can get in touch with me, or stand outside the door while I put my daughter to sleep the next time!

Children of Heaven

On one of our recent shopping sprees with our nephew, we landed up debating whether to buy Nike shoes or Reebok shoes for him. The arguments were strong for both brands:

Nike:

  1. We were in the Nike store when the argument was taking place
  2. We were nearly running out of energy after a tiring day managing three kids and 4 adults
  3. Cost-wise, we got a good deal.

Reebok:

  1. One of his brat friends, whose name I can’t remember, bought Reebok shoes when he came back from US after a holiday. So, it was a major standard to be measured against.

Fullstop. Period.

So, after haggling for what seemed like hours, we convinced him to buy Nike and set a standard of his own. Ultimately, he settled for a pair of football shoes (since, he had agreed to buying Nike, he could not agree to buying the model we suggested, could he?!) So, for the times when he might play soccer, shoes were purchased.

I could not help relating to the times we grew up in, when Nike and Reebok were names only dreamt of. My husband used to wear slippers to School – most boys did. When it comes to Athletics or running races, slippers could be extremely uncomfortable, and were prone to slipping off one’s feet. So, the brazen lads would run barefeet without a second thought to gravel or the coarse mud. One problem remained to be coped with. Most children were poor – and by the time you came back from the race to claim your slippers, they were stolen. In order to solve this – he used to slip the slippers on the palm of his hands, and run as fast as his legs would carry him, and as gracefully as slippers around his palm would allow him to.

When you visualize this, it seems hilarious. But alas, such is the state of affairs in most areas of the world. No luxury to think about shoes for every occasion or comfort! In a way, the capitalist economy has dampened the thrill of getting new things for our children – I can still remember the heart soaring when he used to get new things as children.

PS: I’ve borrowed the title from the movie (but this seemed an apt title)

Ducks & Fishes

Recently, my nephew and niece visited me in California. AS long promised to them, I took them to Sea World at San Diego. The day was bright, and my 2 year old neice, Shama, was excited to the core waiting for her namesake’s show to commence – “Shamu – the killer whale “. The show started and I heard a piercing squeal over the hum of the crowd, followed by a dull thud on my arm! Innocence personified, it was Shama squealing excitedly

“Chitthi – anga paaru FISH!”.

Rumour has it that the poor killer whale attempted to drown itself in its own pool on hearing what its namesake called it! That poor whale spends a major portion of its day consuming 180 pounds of fish, and proudly weighs 3000 pounds. To have an umbrella sized character call it a “Fish” is enough to dampen the spirits of even the most optimistic whale!

Without further damaging the whale’s ego, I moved onto the Penguin area only to have her proclaim loudly to the crowd : “AAAAAIIIII DUCK!!!”

I discovered to my utter horror that in her world all species in Sea World could be classified in two:
(a) Ducks
(b) Fishes

I loved the fact that they travelled 8000 miles across the globe to see ducks and fishes! Kids – tut tut tut!

Tennis for the uninitiated

T’was the golden month after our wedding. I had just adjusted to a new place, new people and the works. One day, at one of our get togethers one enthusiast suggested Tennis to keep the mind and body in shape. Soon, the tennis club took shape, and there was a flurry of excitement all around. The venue was fixed, and all the necessary gear was purchased (You did not see me roll me eyes did you?!)

I was invited to witness the game, and being the new bride took it upon myself to encourage thy husband in all his endeavours. So, the day dawned bright and fresh. Being the first day, around fifteen phone calls flew back and forth. What I least expected was 15 balls flying back and forth during the game. Oops…did I say 15 balls flying back and forth? Let me amend that to 15 balls flying uni-directionally. I waited patiently for 22 minutes and 33 seconds before the first serve was returned!

So much for all the pomp and splendour!

It is fun being married, and having lots of friends, I guess.

Grandpa has a sore hip!

Keerthana’s Grandpa(alias Thaatha) has been complaining of hip pain. Of course, we all know that she is responsible for it in some way, we just did not know exactly how. So, we investigated the matter further……

Everyday, as part of the camaraderie to feed her, thaatha holds the important role of distracting Kunju to open her mouth. So sometimes, he brings various fruits along, and shows her apples, bananas, oranges and the like. Sometimes, it is the drum, dog, anything! Vocal support for this is provided by Grandma (alias Paati). She has a rich repertoire of songs that she unleashes – much like “Paravai Muniyamma”. There are stories also – and I am pleased to inform you that there is a jobless prince who goes to the forest several times a day to kick off the race between the rabbit and the tortoise – “aaamai”. Sometimes, Paati gets to enact how the tortoise went – “ippi ippi pochaam ma tortoise”

One day, when Kaju Katli was giving them an especially difficult time, Thaatha got carried away, and started enacting a dog running. At his age, it isn’t easy to shake your hips around and act like a dog or a rabbit! He is now fighting with Paati that she always takes the slower animal, and he gets to do the faster one – poor Thaatha. I do feel sorry for him. Can any of you tell us what to do?

Ammilai is really becoming a brat!

PS: Ammilai, Kaju Katli, Kunju all refer to the pint-sized character in our home who can make a strict Thaatha enact a dog, and a strict school teacher Paati enact a tortoise!

Ever wondered….

Ever wondered what it takes to train for a marathon?

Well…my husband set out to find out. It all started one fine day when he came home wearing an informative look on his face, and started talking to me about Dean Karnases. (We had just read the book, and it had managed to seep through our thick exterior to inspire us enough to undertake physical activity again.) It’s true – he had set his mind on running a marathon.

The first purchase towards that end was a book titled ‘Non-runners guide to Marathon training’. So, he spent several couch-potatoed days reading the book,and digesting the contents. Finally, it was time to “move”, and he went for his first run.

The next day he was complaining loudly that the contours on his feet did not match the shoe shape, and hence required a new pair of shoes (Legitimate demand, although the explanation must have come from the book, no doubt!) I made room for a wonderful pair of shoes – what I did not make room for was an expensive pair of cotton socks! Yes….cotton socks! Some sales guy, apparently, doing a remarkably good job, sold him a pair of socks called ‘Running’ socks. They looked ordinary to me, and often times get mistaken for regular socks. I could not for the life of me figure out why one would pay so much for a pair of socks. But, the lady of the house has to be appeased. So, after the subsequent run, all I could hear was the tremendous difference the socks made to his life! Not a squeak about the fantastic pair of shoes, but all praise for the socks!

Though, I continue to tease him about his marathon training stories, I am a proud person watching him near the 10 mile mark in so short a span. And if more cotton socks are the key to a successful marathon – then so be it!

All the best to you dear!

Conjuring up the image of 2 loving sisters!

Recently, my home looks like a storm hit it – and I am amazingly happy with all the chaos. I have a niece who is 2, and my daughter who is 10 months old at home right now. The reigning situation can be summarized by the following algorithm:

/* Keerthana is the 10 month old, and Shama is the 2 year old */

If (keerthana.state = ‘awake’ and shama.state = ‘awake’) then
begin
household.state = ‘alert’
household.activity = ‘separate brats constantly’
end

If (keerthana.state = ‘asleep’ and shama.state = ‘awake’) then
begin
household.state = ‘be careful while dealing with Shama’
household.activity = ‘keep shama happy – don’t say no or raise your voice’
/* She is very touchy now because she has been the centre of attraction all this while, and cries loudly at the drop of a hat 🙂 */
end

If (keerthana.state = ‘awake’ and shama.state = ‘asleep’) then
begin
household.state = ‘be careful while dealing with Keerthana’
end

If (keerthana.state = ‘asleep’ and shama.state = ‘asleep’) then
begin
household.state = ‘ENJOY!!!!’
end
One wonders when we can conjure up the image of 2 loving sisters playing harmoniously!